LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2016) – In a letter to Viacom’s Chief Financial Officer Wade Davis and the Board of Directors, the Parents Television Council formally called for VH1’s explicit nude reality show, “Dating Naked,” to be cancelled in the shareholders’ best interests.
After the PTC contacted 80 corporate sponsors of “Dating Naked,” 74 companies – nearly 93% – removed their advertisements from the program after learning of the program’s content.
“If 74 out of 80 corporate advertisers pulled their spots from a VH1 program, why would that program be renewed for another season? The proper answer is that the program should not be renewed for another season – at least not if the corporation’s fiduciary duty to its shareholders is a paramount concern,” PTC President Tim Winter wrote in the letter, adding, “Any decision to renew the program obviates the company’s fiduciary duty to its shareholders.
“Based upon the communications we’ve had with corporate advertisers during the recently-concluded season of this program, not one single company sought out ‘Dating Naked’ as part of its media-buying plan. Of the 80 sponsors we contacted over the course of the season, 74 – nearly 93% – removed their advertisements from the program after learning of the program’s content. Advertisements that did appear on the program were part of a run-of-schedule purchase; most spots were placed without the corporate sponsors’ knowledge or consent, and many aired despite specific instructions from the corporate sponsor not to be associated with ‘Dating Naked.’
“By the season’s final episode, most ad avails were filled with promos for other Viacom programming, movie trailers, or spots for bargain-conscious companies that could buy time at rummage-sale prices. Viewer support for ‘Dating Naked’ was tepid and waning. And perhaps most troubling for parents was that nearly one in five viewers of the sexually-explicit program was a child age 2-18, which was likely caused by what we believe to be the network’s intentionally deceptive content rating of TV-14. VH1 kept ‘Dating Naked’ on the air despite a clear lack of commercial or viewer support; and alternate programming would have generated far more revenue for VH1, for Viacom and for its shareholders.
“There is no valid economic reason to renew this program for another season. For the above reasons I ask you and other members of the Viacom leadership team to cancel ‘Dating Naked.’ Any decision to the contrary runs counter to the interests of Viacom shareholders.”
Press Release: Sept. 28, 2016